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Ventura County JACLers and friends gather at the Historic Japanese Cemetery. (Back row, from left) John Kikuchi (a Boy Scout who did his Eagle Scout project there), Daniel Kikuchi, Karen Kikuchi, Ken Nakano, Elizabeth Hiroyasu, Carl White, Yas Umeda, Aiko O. King, Joanne Nakano, Jules Kumagai and Chuck Kuniyoshi. (Front, from left) Anne Chilcott and Yasuko Kujiraoka. Photo by Makiko Kubo

By Anne Chilcott

A small but hardy band of Ventura County JACL members and friends met on May 10 at the pie-shaped corner of Pleasant Valley Road and Etting Road in Oxnard, Calif., to remove weeds and trash from the Historic Japanese Cemetery, where many Issei were buried in the 1900s.

The JACL Ventura County chapter has been the unofficial caretaker of the cemetery for many years, and each year on the day before Mother’s Day, the chapter gathers to do the annual clean up. Mother’s Day is symbolic, as it is a way to honor those mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and girls who are all buried at the cemetery.

Through the years, the city of Oxnard has done improvements in the area, including installing a wrought-iron fence around most of the cemetery, providing sidewalks and landscaping in the parkway.

This yearly gathering is the chapter’s way of saying thank you to the Issei pioneers in Ventura County who endured a difficult environment in order to make the lives of others more comfortable.

Originally published on June 6, 2014